John Brennan, the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, has lashed out at renowned whistle-blower Edward Snowden for what he calls undermining the nation’s security.
Addressing the Overseas Security Advisory Council’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Brennan accused Snowden of undermining US security and making it harder for intelligence officials to curb terror acts.
“I think any unauthorized disclosures made by individuals that have dishonored the oath of office that they have raised their hand and attested to undermines this nation’s security,” the CIA head said in response to a question about Snowden.
“And heroizing such individuals I find to be unfathomable as far as what it is that this country needs to be able to do, again, in order to keep itself safe,” Brennan added.
He also slammed those who cheer for Snowden and what he did, saying “a lot of people who are speaking out there about what some individuals have done and applauding it have no understanding, [and] are totally ignorant of what it is that such people have wrought.”
Snowden (pictured below), a former contractor of the National Security Agency (NSA), fled America two years ago and took with him a trove of highly classified information that blew the cover on a deep spying program the country’s security agencies were running against both domestic and foreign targets.
The NSA leaker’s critics argue that his leaks have helped terror organizations such as Daesh (ISIL) with their plots in wreaking havoc against Western countries, with the Paris attacks that killed 132 people as a prominent example.
The attacks have sparked concerns among US lawmakers about advanced data encryption technologies that allow for nearly unbreakable communications.
Snowden’s leaks have also prompted a widespread surveillance reform push that prominent figures such as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Republican Senator Tom Cotton have spoken against.
The whistle-blower flew to Moscow in 2013 and is believed to be living in an undisclosed location in Russia as of now.